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China Daily Website

Worried parents drive imported milk sales

Updated: 2013-07-03 02:29
By LI WOKE ( China Daily)

According to the China Dairy Industry Association, in the first four months of this year, China imported dairy products amounting to 596,200 tons, up 24.6 percent year-on-year.

Imports are being driven by infant formula milk, which totaled 38,900 tons in the first four months, up 37.2 percent, as well as liquid milk, which hit 63,700 tons in the first four months, a year-on-year surge of 164.7 percent.

"Domestic milk consumption has been increasing for years, lifted by rising personal incomes and a soaring milk-drinking population," said Wang Dingmian, a consultant with the Guangdong Provincial Dairy Association.

He added that besides liquid milk, milk-based beverages, imported cheese and yogurt may become popular.

Lao Bing, general manager and industry expert of the Shanghai-based Mental Marketing Dairy Consulting, said: "Surging imported milk consumption will have a negative impact on domestic dairy industry chains" in light of foreign products' allegedly competitive prices and good reputations.

But Lao said brisker sales of imports are largely due to domestic milk scares.

A series of milk safety scandals, involving milk and infant formula have been exposed since 2008. Toxic chemicals were added to dairy products to yield a higher protein content. The practice killed at least six infants.

The State Council, the country's cabinet, said it will take effective measures to ensure the safety of baby milk products.

"Food safety is not simply a food problem, it has become a social problem, or even a national image-related problem," said Ning Gaoning, board chairman of the China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corp, at the Fifth China Food Safety Forum.

"Large Chinese food producers should play a leading role in food safety and product quality, while their mid-sized and small counterparts strongly need self-discipline."


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